This is a frequent topic here on All Nurses. I have copied the following from previous posts I have made on this subject. I think all of the links are active, however am not 100% certain.
The AHA neither sanctions nor approves other organizations life support training programs. After publishing the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC)
the AHA subsequently developed their current support training programs, of which ACLS is one. Other agencies were then free to develop their own courses based upon these guidelines, and several have. I am aware of at least three other organizations that have developed ACLS training programs: The American Safety & Health Institute
, American Medical Resource Institute
, and eACLS
, which is sponsored by the American College of Emergency Physicians. These courses are offered in a variety of formats: traditional, blended, and online. I have no experience with any of these programs, and provide the following as information only.
The Joint Commission (JC) standard pc.02.01.11 reads: resuscitation services are available throughout the hospital lists the following as one of the elements of performance: “an evidenced-based training program(s) is used to train staff to recognize the need for and use of resuscitation equipment and techniques.” There is no official or preferred ACLS program to satisfy this requirement and each organization is free to determine which program or programs that they will recognize.
After determining which program that you are going to take, you then need to determine the program format to take. Advance Cardiac Life Support training is currently offered in three formats: traditional, blended, and online.
Using the traditional format, you go to a training center and spend four to eight hours watching videos, doing skills review and evaluation, and complete the written test. At the end of the day you receive a course completion/certification card. This is probably what most people are familiar with.
The blended format is exactly that, it is a combination of both online and classroom training. In a blended program you will complete the cognitive/didactic portion on line, as well as completed the written test on line. Upon completion of the test you print out your course completion form to take to an instructor where you then complete the skills review and testing portion. Upon completion of the skills review/testing you are issued your course completion/certification card. The AHA makes no distinction between completion of either a traditional or blended course.
Online courses, as the name implies, are offered totally online. These programs consist only of the cognitive/didactic portion, without skills review/testing. While I personally would not take an online course without skills review/testing it might be accepted by some organizations.